When I saw the beautiful acorn squash at the farms, I knew I had to make this dish. I’ve long admired stuffed squash recipes but I had never made it before. With the holidays fast approaching and the beautiful produce at my fingertips, it was time.
Once I started contemplating the kinds of veggies to include with the quinoa, I had to slow myself down because I wanted everything! I had some bell peppers from the farm in the freezer that I wanted to use. Have you ever frozen those? It’s fabulous because you cut them into strips before you freeze them so it’s very handy to just take a few out as you need them. No wastage!
I sauteed some of the peppers, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, kale, and sunflower seeds before adding it to the quinoa. I tossed some diced apple in there just before stuffing the squash and the combination was super flavorful. I had not cooked red and white quinoa before and I loved the the colour it added to the dish.
Don’t you just love the sunflowers at this time of year? I wish I had a big garden of them in the backyard.
And so many wonderful types of squash – spaghetti, butternut, kabocha, acorn, buttercup – so many to choose from but I finally settled on acorn because they’re just so darn pretty. Those are kabocha above. That’s the fun thing about this dish, it will look so elegant on your table but take only a few minutes to make.
I didn’t even know until recently that people like to make jokes about Canadians and their maple syrup – it could be worse, right? They could make fun of our obsession with Tim Horton’s, hockey, and poutine – oh,wait, they do! ha! It’s all good and of course there is some truth to it so we better all have the ability to laugh at ourselves, don’t you think?
I thought you’d get a kick out of this maple syrup container because it contains just a little over 4 ounces. It’s kind of like those liquor bottles that people slip into their jackets, lol. When we need a nip, we just take a sip…..Kidding! I do love how cute this is, though.
The celery at the farm was different than any I’d seen before. Check this out!
I loved the thin stalks and I’ve made some celery soup from it as well that I’ll share soon. I wondered if there would be a difference in taste and I may have detected a slightly stronger flavour but I’m not quite sure. I think I just wanted it to be, ha!
And these carrots….well, perfection!
The maple syrup was a great addition to the squash but if you don’t have it, a friend of mine uses a little butter and cinnamon and I think that would be delicious!
I hope you try this super easy dish and wow your guests over the holidays or just surprise your family with a healthy treat during the week. Cheers!
- 2 acorn squash, halved (Careful when cutting them, they can roll around on you. Use a very sharp knife)
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup quinoa ( I love [url href=”http://gogoquinoa.com/product-category/grains/” target=”_blank”]this[/url] brand because it’s pre-rinsed, organic and gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup carrots, sliced thinly
- 1 small handful of kale, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup onion, diced finely
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 stalk of celery, diced finely
- 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts
- 1/4 cup apple, diced finely
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Scoop the flesh and seeds from each halved piece of squash using a spoon or melon baller.
- Brush the cut sides with maple syrup, ensuring you do the insides as well. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Place cut sides down on parchment paper or foil wrap on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until fork tender. Check at 20 minute mark. It may require more or less time depending on your oven. Mine was done perfectly in 25 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. I used organic vegetable broth instead of water.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan on med-high heat. Saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery until softened. Add sunflower seeds and kale, cooking for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add apple, mixing well.
- Add mixture to quinoa and mix thoroughly.
- Scoop mixture into acorn halves and serve immediately.
- NOTE: If you time this right and cook all the elements at the same time, everything will be piping hot. If it needs a little help, don’t hesitate to return stuffed acorn into oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.